Saturday, April 25, 2009

Breaking It Apart

I was asked a question the today about what I am trying to do with my work and I thought I would share that here. Let's start with what I am aiming to do.

I have found I am interested in perception and how we as people take in and understand our surroundings. The information we gather is both incomplete to begin with and is filtered down to the level required for us to function. It is not a reflection of reality, not even an accurate copy of it. Rather its a reconstruction of what we perceive that has been reshaped by our mind. I am exploring this through translating the human figure into a form explained this in way, not as an attempt to describe an individual or idealized form.

Right now, I a working on the visual aspect of perception and one of the things I am doing is using the guidelines and principles of traditional realistic painting as a way to explore how we view form. I am doing this through exaggeration of these principles, edge variation, color temperature, level of structure, and things like that.

For example, I push the relationship of hard and soft edges to make this relationship unavoidable to the viewer. Edge variation is used to define distance, space and turning of form, as that is what we actually see in life. I push that to a degree where the form merges with the space around it, connecting the form to its environment.

I am also working with color as a way to explore perception. I try to do this through both exaggeration and the purposeful misplacement of color. When exaggerating the color, I push color temperature to the furthest extremes I can, I may paint very hot shadows and cold highlights. When misusing color I will break those rules of color relationships to emphasize that everything is following a pattern then suggesting to the viewer to consider that pattern.

Now on to the work done this week.

The two images above are paintings I am working on with what I said above in mind. I took the paintings to a group critique this week and it was generally felt that they lack cohesion, the parts don't connect well. In part, I agree with this. I don't know if I truly want complete connectedness between all the elements of each piece, as incompleteness is a theme I want to include in my work. Still, I do think some more related elements my make the work stronger.

I am going to move away from relying on the the cross hatched strokes to break the form and work in some other ways to do that, to include more variety.

The next image is the start of my next painting. Unfortunately for this one, I will not take it any further. I consider this a disaster and will scrape it and start again. I tried to lay out my composition more directly this time, and I have decided to go back and do it without so much color information up front. Its just too much information form me to handle at once.

The copy is of another Prud'hon. This one is coming out well for me. I am not done with it and will complete it this week. I decided to push the values down much further than the photo copy I am using. As I think it is a poor reflection of what the artist actually did. Since the goal is to learn from the artist, I am going to try to do it as he might do rather than imitate what I see in the reproduction.

The last one is the structure drawing from class. I like it so far. The only problem I have with it is from the vantage point I have in the room I can't see her feet. Her legs end abruptly at the knees and makes the drawing look awkward. I will have to resolve that, maybe I will try to include the hint of a foot behind the knees.


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